Why Each of the Best Picture Oscar Nominees Deserve To Win

What are the Best Picture Oscar nominees, and why do each of them deserve to win?
by Ken Miyamoto on March 10, 2023

It's Oscar season! This year we once again have ten films nominated for Best Picture (in 2009, the number of potential nominees for the category was moved from five to ten). Between all of them, we have many different genres represented.

  • Science Fiction/Fantasy/Comedy/Action/Martial Arts/Drama genre blend
  • Dramas
  • Biopics
  • Musical Drama
  • War
  • Dramedy
  • Action Drama
  • Sci-fi

From box office blockbusters (Top Gun: Maverick, Avatar: Way of the Water) to Small Arthouse Indies (Tar, Triangle of Sadness), and directed by Hollywood legends (Steven Spielberg, James Cameron) to cult arthouse indie favorites (Sarah Polley, Martin McDonagh), this year's Best Picture nominees offer Academy voters many worthy winners.

Read More: Academy Award Winning Movies You Need to Read From the 2000s

But only one can come home with the gold statue (unless there is a Best Picture tie, which has never happened).

Here we present all ten Academy Award nominees for Best Picture (along with their loglines and trailers), accompanied by the biggest reasons they each deserve to win.


All Quiet on the Western Front

Notable Best Picture wins thus far: BAFTA

A young German soldier's terrifying experiences and distress on the western front during World War I.

Why It Should Win:

The Academy rarely awards Best Picture to foreign films, despite the recent 2020 win of Parasite. And that's a shame because a film is a film. While All Quiet on the Western Front will likely take the Best Foreign Picture, the film deserves to win the overall Best Picture category because of its scope and size. War films often draw votes from Academy members because of all that goes into creating period war set pieces. This film depicts a war that hasn't been as represented as others (WWII, Civil War, Vietnam). While this is one of many interpretations of this particular story, the film is a masterpiece. It's poignant, relevant, cathartic, heartbreaking, inspiring, and tragic. It deserves to win.

Avatar: The Way of Water

Notable Best Picture wins thus far: National Board of Review (Top 10), AFI Movies of the Year

The sequel to 2009 Best Picture nominee Avatar. Jake Sully lives with his newfound family formed on the extrasolar moon Pandora. Once a familiar threat returns to finish what was previously started, Jake must work with Neytiri and the army of the Na'vi race to protect their home.

Why It Should Win:

The first Avatar movie was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Picture. Cameron famously lost to his ex-wife (but a good friend) Kathryn Bigelow, who won both awards with her smaller war film, The Hurt Locker. This sequel is one that has been in the making for over a decade. It pushes the very technological advances the original Avatar made, tenfold. The world-building is outstanding. The special effects (both the CG and 3D) are the best they've ever been in any film. From a technological standpoint alone, this movie deserves to win above all others. Director James Cameron changed the way movies can be made.

Read More: How Avatar: The Way of Water Gets to "Level 3 Storytelling"

The Banshees of Inisherin

Notable Best Picture wins thus far: National Board of Review (Top 10), AFI Special Award, Golden Globes (Musical/Comedy)

Two lifelong friends find themselves at an impasse when one abruptly ends their relationship, with alarming consequences for both of them.

Why It Should Win:

Some films rely on their acting performances alone to carry Oscar-worthiness. And, yes, this outstanding and powerful character piece delivers on that front. The two powerhouse performances from co-lead actors Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson (returning together after playing hitmen in In Bruges) are an unmatched duo compared to all of the other Best Picture nominees. Watching these two amazing performances is worth a Best Picture Oscar alone.


Notable Best Picture wins thus far: AFI Movies of the Year

The life of American music icon Elvis Presley, from his childhood to becoming a rock and movie star in the 1950s while maintaining a complex relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker.

Why It Should Win:

Sometimes it's a single performance that warrants a Best Picture win. But the wonderful dynamic of Elvis is that Austin Butler's career-defining performance is accompanied by masterful and unique direction by director Baz Luhrmann (curiously left out of the Best Director nominations). There's a style to this film that captures not only the time period but the essence of Elvis Presley. A win would be a testament to his impact on the world. And a deserving one. Butler's performance alone is at the center as well and deserves the win.

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Notable Best Picture wins thus far: National Board of Review (Top 10), AFI Movies of the Year, Los Angeles Film Critics Awards (tie), Critics Choice, SAG ensemble

A middle-aged Chinese immigrant is swept up into an insane adventure in which she alone can save existence by exploring other universes and connecting with the lives she could have led.

Why It Should Win:

Sometimes the Academy is faced with a truly unique and original nominee that can't be ignored. Parasite was perhaps the most recent example — until this year. Everything Everywhere All at Once, directed by directing due the Daniels, takes that baton with a tenfold approach of originality and uniqueness. Never has the Academy seen such a genre blend. There's science fiction, fantasy, comedy, action, martial arts, and drama. And all are perfectly blended with a collection of amazing performances with a predominantly Asian cast.

Sometimes the story behind the scenes adds to the allure of the Best Picture win. The comeback of Ke Huy Quan, the career-defining performance from Michelle Yeoh, the rising star of Stephanie Hsu, and the possible legacy win for Jamie Lee Curtis are all great stories. The film deserves to win on its own merits, but the behind-the-scenes story only enhances the allure of a possible Best Picture win.

Read More: 2023 Oscar Nominations: ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ Gets 11 Nods

The Fabelmans

Notable Best Picture wins thus far: TIFF People's Choice, PSIFF Vanguard Award, National Board of Review (Top 10), AFI Movies of the Year, Golden Globes (Drama)

Growing up in post-World War II era Arizona, young Sammy Fabelman aspires to become a filmmaker as he reaches adolescence, but soon discovers a shattering family secret and explores how the power of films can help him see the truth.

Why It Should Win:

This film was the early favorite in the Awards race. While the Golden Globes win for Best Drama was a huge step forward for it being the front-runner, other films have generated more recent buzz. Spielberg's most personal film should win because of two factors.

First, it's a love letter to the cinema. Not only to the people that make movies but also to the people that watch them. Second, the film is a biopic that tells the story of arguably the greatest director of our time, Steven Spielberg. This is his story. A coming of age period piece about family, sacrifice, and pursuing a dream against all odds. It's not only highly cathartic from an emotional standpoint — it's also hilariously funny. A win for this film would be a testament to Steven Spielberg's career and life. And that would make for an amazing Oscar moment.

Read More: The Fabelmans: How Steven Spielberg Uses Filmmaking to Cope


Notable Best Picture wins thus far: New York Film Critics Circle, AFI Movies of the Year, Los Angeles Film Critics Awards (tie)

Set in the international world of Western classical music, the film centers on Lydia Tár, widely considered one of the greatest living composer-conductors and the very first female director of a major German orchestra.

Why It Should Win:

A film's Best Picture win can be attributed to a powerful performance, which is no easy feat. In this case, Cate Blanchett's remarkable acting skills are the centerpiece of the movie's success. Without her masterful performance, the movie may not have been a contender. However, with it, the film deserves recognition and a win.

Top Gun: Maverick

Notable Best Picture wins thus far: National Board of Review (Best Film), AFI Movies of the Year

The sequel to Top Gun. After thirty years, Maverick is still pushing the envelope as a top naval aviator but must confront ghosts of his past when he leads Top Gun's elite graduates on a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those chosen to fly it.

Why It Should Win:

There's a lot to unlock here. This could have been a dismal sequel. Instead, Tom Cruise proved how talented he is not just as an actor, but as one of the industry's best producers. It was difficult enough to concoct a worthy sequel to a beloved film that was released nearly 40 years ago. It was even more difficult to weather the storm of a global pandemic that shut down the industry's platform (theaters) for well over a year. Cruise pushed up against plans for the studio to release the long-awaited film on its streaming platform. He fought to keep it on the back burner for a global theatrical release.

According to Steven Spielberg himself, Cruise may well have saved the film industry by bringing audiences back in droves. Beyond those behind-the-scenes stories, the film itself is a masterful display of cinema, offering a heart-pounding action film with outstanding practical stunts, anchored by outstanding drama. Not every Best Picture needs to be elegant high-brow art or a dazzling and epic period piece. Top Gun: Maverick entertains. And it goes to great levels to offer cathartic moments throughout that entertainment. For that reason alone, it deserves to win Best Picture.

Triangle of Sadness

Notable Best Picture wins thus far: Cannes

A fashion model celebrity couple joins an eventful cruise for the super-rich.

Why It Should Win:

Comedies don't get their due at the Oscars. No outright comedy has won Best Picture since 1977's Annie Hall. And while you could argue that 2011's Best Picture winner, The Artist, was a comedy, that film won primarily because of its original and unique production of a black-and-white silent film. And Triangle of Sadness is far funnier than The Artist. It's hilarious. We get a true send-up of upper-class life with some of the funniest physical humor we've seen in recent years. It's about time a comedy wins Best Picture again. And this film is one of the funniest contenders we've seen.

It's also much more of a straight-up comedy than any previous comedy winner (1934’s It Happened One Night, 1938’s You Can’t Take It With You, 1944’s Going My Way, 1963’s Tom Jones, 1973’s The Sting, 1977’s Annie Hall, and, Yes, 2011’s The Artist).

Women Talking

Notable Best Picture wins thus far: National Board of Review (Top 10), AFI Movies of the Year

Do nothing. Stay and fight. Or leave. In 2010, the women of an isolated religious community grapple with reconciling a brutal reality with their faith.

Why It Should Win:

Many will say that the nomination for this film is a win. It wasn't initially very well known in many circles. However, it's a very important film for the #MeToo movement, and for our society in general. Sometimes a film's message and cultural impact are enough to warrant a Best Picture win. The film tells a harrowing true story that precedes the #MeToo movement. It's a story and message that women of all ages can sadly identify with, and it's also a story and message that men and women from all walks of life need to witness so that we can ensure that this movement doesn't fade away. Instead, we need to assure that the change continues and evolves into true equality.

Who do you think is going to win?

Ken Miyamoto has worked in the film industry for nearly two decades, most notably as a studio liaison for Sony Studios and then as a script reader and story analyst for Sony Pictures.

He has many studio meetings under his belt as a produced screenwriter, meeting with the likes of Sony, Dreamworks, Universal, Disney, and Warner Brothers, as well as many production and management companies. He has had a previous development deal with Lionsgate, as well as multiple writing assignments, including the produced miniseries Blackout, starring Anne Heche, Sean Patrick Flanery, Billy Zane, James Brolin, Haylie Duff, Brian Bloom, Eric La Salle, and Bruce Boxleitner, the feature thriller Hunter’s Creed, and many produced Lifetime thrillers. Follow Ken on Twitter @KenMovies and Instagram @KenMovies76.


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